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  • News Plymouth Octopus is a cosmolocal CAN in action, combining local practicality and global perspective, The Dailty Alternative (Dec 01, 2021)
  • News "The State of Us" event revealed the mulitple forms of agency within municipalism, Daily Alternative (Nov 12, 2021)
  • News Eco-community in Vietnam Building the New Normal!, (Aug 11, 2021)

Jan-Jun 2021[edit | edit source]

  • "The Market Hall is going to become the Souk of Stoke". Regeneration practitioner Mike Riddell says Burslem will be a showcase for "communification", Mar 15[1]
  • CANs might be place or purpose based.[2]
  • A/UK Co-creator groups have welcomed initiators of all kinds of CANs from across the UK and Europe, Mexico, South Africa, India, USA.
CANs have been springing up all over the world, often at neighbourhood level but also across towns and cities, and directly in response to the Covid crisis. The implicit connections between those living in the same place rose quickly to the surface, manifesting as organic care systems for those made vulnerable by the lock down.
The phenomenon of people coming together to ameliorate a multi-dimensional crisis, putting an emphasis on building safety and trust and coming up with practical solutions, was a narrative shared with more established CANs like Transition Towns or Ecovillages (though there's mostly no direct connection). These established CANs started in a similar way but have since become wholistic, systemic islands of activity in our otherwise flatter landscape of activism.
If protest movements were until recently our only popular option for rejecting the current socio-economic system – an action that often polarized communities – then CANs, in our understanding, aim to cross divides and bring us back to the 'more we have in common'. They emphasize connection in all its forms – to each other, the community and the planet.
But not all CANs are immediately recognisable as community care or transformation groups. In the past year we have come into contact with at least eight different ways of describing the reason for people coming together in a place-based community:
  • CAN as a sangha/church, looking at beliefs and new ways of becoming agentic
  • CAN as the place to generate a 4th sector economy built on community wealth/commoning
  • CAN as a space to explore and experience creativity
  • CAN as a democracy hub - experimenting with participation, governance
  • CAN as a learning club, upgrading ourselves for the 21st century
  • CAN as a farm – aiming for food sovereignty
  • CAN as a care-system
  • CAN as a community hub, offering interaction, identity, belonging
As such, the mnemonic has become flexible. C can mean citizen, community, creative. A can indicate action, agency or simply "and". N tends to mean network but has also meant neighbourhood or even nest!
When you add these all up, you get the essential definition of a CAN as a firelighter, drawing out of those living together in loose community their collective potential to spring into life. A CAN gives them a space in which to grow, each person a flourishing system within the bigger system of community and planet.
Of course, any particular CAN might also be a mixture of many elements in that list. But some are singularly focused.[3]
  • Cape Town's CANs movement
We're delighted to discover Cape Town's CANs movement - "community action networks" that have been keeping a city together, under Covid, Feb 19, 2021.[4] Cape Town Together,, a rapid community-led response to Covid -19. The network is made up of thousands of volunteers who are coming together to form Community Action Networks or CANs. Over a 160 Community Action Networks, and growing. added 11:59, 22 February 2021 (UTC)

See also[edit | edit source]

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Notes and References

  2. Co-creators zoom meeting, Mar 8, 2021
  3. Alternative Editorial: We Are FOUR, Mar 1, 2021
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Authors Phil Green
License CC-BY-SA-4.0
Language English (en)
Related 0 subpages, 3 pages link here
Aliases CAN news/2019-2021
Impact 147 page views
Created January 25, 2023 by Phil Green
Modified February 16, 2024 by Phil Green
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